June 13, 2021

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Former Sen. Martha McSally silent on Arizona audit, Trump talk she could be ‘reinstated’ to Senate – The Arizona Republic

3 min read
U.S. Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., speaks during a campaign event at the Arizona Republican Party headquarters in Phoenix on Nov. 2, 2020.

While President Donald Trump is stewing over his 2020 loss and reportedly telling those close to him that Arizona’s ballot review could lead to him being “reinstated” to the White House, the other Republican with the most to gain from the review of 2.1 million ballots in Maricopa County hasn’t weighed in.

Former Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., who narrowly lost her Senate campaign last November to Democrat Mark Kelly, declined through a former campaign staffer to comment to The Arizona Republic about whether she believes the process will reverse her loss.

McSally has not publicly addressed the baseless claims of a stolen election and conceded her race well before conspiratorial theories took root in right-wing America.

No one from Trump’s orbit has been in touch with her 2020 team to discuss the potential implications of the audit, a former McSally campaign staffer said.

The New York Times and National Review have reported that Trump has been saying the election reviews in Arizona and Georgia will not just help him, but also restore to the Senate McSally and former Sen. David Perdue, R-Ga., who also lost to a Democrat. 

Though Trump is said to be riveted by the idea, there is no way to reinstate him as president or reinstate McSally and Perdue to the Senate, nor is there precedent.

“Congress has already certified the election. The electoral college has voted. … There’s absolutely no recourse,” retired Senate historian Donald Ritchie said Thursday, adding of Trump, “He’s making it up as he goes along.”

A spokesperson for Kelly, who was sworn into office Dec. 2, declined to comment Thursday.

Though McSally has disappeared from the daily news headlines, she remains connected with friends on Capitol Hill, and members of her campaign and senatorial teams.

McSally has spent the past six months visiting family in Rhode Island, hiking, and road-tripping with Boomer, her golden retriever who gained national fame after making an appearance in her 2018 concession speech.

She has steered clear of commenting on the ballot review going on at Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix.

McSally, who campaigned alongside the former president many times in 2020, conceded her race to Kelly on Nov. 13. Her concession came 10 days after the election and days after it became clear that it was mathematically impossible for her to catch up to Kelly in the vote count.

She lost to Kelly by two percentage points, the same margin as her 2018 loss to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.

“With nearly all the votes counted, I called Mark Kelly this morning to congratulate him on winning this race,” she said in a written statement at the time. She offered to help him transition into office: “I wish him all the best.”

McSally’s concession marked the end of a fierce, year-and-a-half-long race to fill the remainder of the term won by the late Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., who died in 2018.

Kelly is running for re-election in 2022 for a full, six-year term and the Republican field is starting to take shape.

Have news to share about Arizona politics? Reach the reporter on Twitter and Facebook. Contact her at yvonne.wingett@arizonarepublic.com and 602-444-4712.

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